Local MP wants a phased reopening of Canada’s borders

MP Cathy McLeod responds to the concerns of municipality and foreign homeowners

The issue of foreign homeowners being unable to return to Sun Peaks this winter has gotten the attention of the community’s local member of parliament. 

Cathy McLeod, who represents the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding, said she would like to see a thoughtful, phased reopening that would allow foreign homeowners the opportunity to visit Canada at an early stage. 

“I’m not saying when it should happen, but I think the idea of a phase process makes a lot of sense to be quite honest,” said McLeod. 

McLeod added that she recently spoke to Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) mayor Al Raine about the issue. 

Whatever happens, McLeod said she thinks health and safety should be paramount in the decision making process. 

“I think that’s number one, but I also think that it is important to start planning towards a reopening,” said McLeod. “And to me, it shouldn’t be like when we closed, which was all of a sudden; I think there might be a thoughtful phased kind of process for reopening.” 

McLeod, who represents the Conservative Party of Canada, said she will bring the issue up within her party as well as to the governing Liberals. 

SPMRM council is also pushing for a phased re-opening.

During a Sept. 1 special council meeting, they passed a resolution instructing staff to send a letter of support to upper levels of government to support a phased opening of the borders or a system that would allow foreign second homeowners or those who regularly spend long periods of time in the community to return. Raine also said he would connect with other resort communities to work together on the issue.

As SPIN recently reported, the border closure is also impacting the community’s volunteer base, with Adaptive Sports Sun Peaks facing the prospect of losing its principal trainers this winter unless the Canadian government changes its travel restrictions. 

Australians Veronica and Neil Connors have been volunteering with the program for over ten years and play a key role in its operation.

The problem was also brought up by SPMRM councillor Rob O’Toole during a recent community panel discussion hosted by SPIN publisher Brandi Schier.

During the panel O’Toole said the secondary homeowners play a vital role in the community. 

“A large number of these people, who are retired or semi-retired, and come here for three, four, five months are the backbone of our volunteer crew in this resort, and organizations like Adaptive Sports will be extremely challenged to be able to deliver services,” said O’Toole. 

Interior Health declined an interview for this story.